The Chippendale Hotel has truned its beer garden into an American backyard burger bar, thanks to a residency from Cheekyburger, purveyors of cheeseburgers, fries and shakes over Paddington way. On Tap they've got Q Lager, Young Henrys Newtowner, Quick Draw pale, James Squire Four Wives and Brooklyn Lager, plus Stowford Press cider if you're just easing into things. Once you're fully lubricated it's time ot tackle the Americana heavy menu, with sloppy joes, burgers, sweet potato fries, a Philly cheesesteak and a Waldorf salad.
It’s entirely likely that Mary’s is more famous as a burger place than as a bar. People queue for up to an hour just to get in the front door of this slightly scuzzy boozer with a penchant for Slaytanic font (yes, there is a font inspired by the 1980s thrash metal band). They're pumping out a five star American-style burger. That hot sandwich turned Sydney’s bar scene on its head – now you can’t lob a brick without hitting someone melting cheese over beef patties and packing them in sweet, soft buns – but these guys were one of the first.
This is a sweet bar and diner with a nanna-meets-yo-momma vibe and a menu that explores the wide belt of America’s South. Get things rolling with some tater tots, all crisp and golden with a slightly spicy maple bacon dipping sauce. The food for the most part is ballast, really, for the raft of American beers on offer. You’ll see hush puppies, grits and crawfish pies. We don’t order the blackened catfish, but you might.
The party never stops at Shady Pines. Open the unmarked door off a dark lane in Darlinghurst. Open the second door (sound proofing proved necessary once it became clear just how popular this bar was going to remain) and descend into a sunken saloon where at any moment you could find yourself in the middle of a wobbly sing-a-long to American Pie cranked right up – and that’s on a Wednesday. Plus this is the place where Sydney got its taste for booze and fresh apple juice.
Yes, there’s another American-ish bar bathed in the glow of red neon at the old Sticky Bar site. But what’s good about this bar isn’t the vintage booze advertising, hobby paraphernalia and charity shop art that cover the exposed brick walls, or the fact that they’ve got Coors and PBRs to accompany your barbecue platter and chilli cheese fries. It’s that there's Clamato juice in the fridge – Bloody Caesars for all. After a big night out, this cocktail is the drink equivalent of a sympathetic pat on the back followed by some stirring words about glory lasting forever.